Marr History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The chronicles of the Marr family reach back into Scottish history to an ancient tribe known as the Picts. The ancestors of the Marr family lived in a place called Mar, which was in the county of Aberdeen. It may come from the Old Norse word marr, which was an extremely rare word, that was usually associated with the sea, but sometimes referred to a marsh or a fen. In this sense, Marr would be a habitational name. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Marr family

The surname Marr was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire at Marr, a parish, in the union of Doncaster, N. division of the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill. [3]

It was here in England that James de Mar was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1182. Ralph atte Mar was also listed in Yorkshire in the Subsidy Rolls of 1297 as was William del Marre in the Subsidy Rolls for 1302. [2] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Johannes de Merre; and Henricus de Marre. [4]

However the lion's share of the family claim Scotland as their ancient homeland. Here Mar is a parish in Aberdeenshire where "the name is of local or territorial origin from the district in Aberdeenshire so named." [5]

This same source postulates that the name was "probably also from Marr in Yorkshire. In the Yorkshire dialect mar is used of 'marshy land, sodden or reedy ground.' " [5]

"In 1235 William de Mer, perhaps the earliest of the name in record [in Scotland], witnessed a grant by Radulf Manus to the Abbey of Kelso. Gilberd or Gilbert de Mar of Fifeshire, John of Mar, bailiff of Linlithgow, and James de Mer of Aberdeenshire, all rendered homage in 1296 [to King Edward I of England]. Richard Mar was present at inquest made at St. Andrews, 1302-1303. John de Marr, c. 1316, witnessed a charter of the lands of Linton-Rothirrik, and David de Marre was king's messenger in 1327. A canonry of Glasgow was granted to John de Mair, chaplain to Joan, queen of Scotland, 1346. Roger dictus Mer held land of the Abbey of Arbroath in 1329, Donald de Marre is mentioned in 1353 as late archdeacon of Brechin, Master David of Mer was treasurer of Moray, 1358, and Alexander de Marr was custumar of Dundee in 1359. " [5]

To better understand the York, England and Scotland relationship in the family, we found "William Mar, ninth Earl of Mar (d. 1281?), the son of Duncan, eighth earl of Mar, and grandson of Morgrund, fifth earl. He succeeded his father in or before 1237, when he attested at York the agreement between Henry III of England and Alexander II of Scotland. His right of succession was contested by Alan Durward, who asserted that William's father and grandfather were both of illegitimate birth, and that he ought to succeed as lawful heir. But apparently the case was arranged on the footing of an agreement which had been made about 1228 with Thomas Durward, father of Alan, who received a large accession of territory in Mar ; and the earldom remained with William de Mar. In 1249, during the minority of Alexander III, he was appointed one of the regents of Scotland." [6]

William's son, Donald Mar, tenth Earl of Mar (d. 1297), was knighted by Alexander III at Scone in 1270, and succeeded as earl before 25 July 1281, when he took oath at Roxburgh to observe the treaty for the marriage of Princess Margaret of Scotland and Eric, king of Norway. [6]

Early History of the Marr family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Marr research. Another 230 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1120, 1366, 1403, 1391, 1439, 1130, 1408, 1439, 1475, 1734, 1501 and 1748 are included under the topic Early Marr History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marr Spelling Variations

When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. Marr has been written Marr, Mar, Marre, Mare and others.

Early Notables of the Marr family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Marr Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Marr Ranking

In the United States, the name Marr is the 3,246th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [7]


United States Marr migration to the United States +

The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Marr:

Marr Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christopher Marr, who settled in Virginia in 1715
  • Alexander Marr who settled in Maryland in 1747
  • James Marr, who settled in Virginia in 1774
Marr Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George, Jacob, John, Peter and Thomas Marr, who arrived in Pennsylvania between 1800 and 1870

Canada Marr migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Marr Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Rose Marr, aged 30 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Greenock" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in August 1847 [8]

Australia Marr migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Marr Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Marr, (Mayer), (b. 1806), aged 14, British Convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 14 years for coining, transported aboard the "Caledonia" on 5th July 1820, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1832 [9]

New Zealand Marr migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Marr Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Captain Marr, Australian settler travelling from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia aboard the ship "Bolina" arriving in New Zealand in 1842 [10]
  • Mrs. Marr, Australian settler travelling from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia aboard the ship "Bolina" arriving in New Zealand in 1842 [10]
  • Child Marr, Australian settler travelling from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia aboard the ship "Bolina" arriving in New Zealand in 1842 [10]
  • Miss Marr, Australian servant travelling from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia aboard the ship "Bolina" arriving in New Zealand in 1842 [10]
  • Miss Janet Marr, Scottish servant from Edinburgh travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Marr (post 1700) +

  • Thomas A. "Tom" Marr (1942-2016), American talk radio host on WCBM (680-AM) in Baltimore, Maryland
  • David Francis Marr Jr. (1933-1997), American professional PGA golfer and sportscaster
  • Barbara La Marr (1896-1926), born Reatha Dale Watson, an American stage and film actress, known as "The Girl Who Is Too Beautiful"
  • Walter Lorenzo Marr (1865-1941), American automaker, founder of the Marr Auto-Car Company in 1903, and later the first Chief Engineer for Buick in 1904
  • G. Margaret Marr (b. 1896), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Utah, 1944, 1948 [12]
  • Delos D. Marr, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Chesterton, Indiana, 1880-85 [12]
  • Christopher Marr, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Washington, 2008 [12]
  • Charles H. Marr (b. 1865), American politician, Mayor of Wyandotte, Michigan, 1911-16 [12]
  • Mrs. Carmel C. Marr, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1972 [12]
  • Betty Marr, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Indiana, 1960 [12]
  • ... (Another 21 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Ian C C Marr (b. 1920), Scottish Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Morningside, Edinburgh, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
HMS Prince of Wales


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 41)
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 26) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  13. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  14. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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